Thursday, December 28, 2017

Civil War Monument, the Capitol Mall Washington DC.

It is one of the most magnificent memorials in Washington D.C. It is a monument to Grant and all the soldiers who fought in the Civil War. The section I decided to sketch features soldiers moving a cannon into position.

This monument was first proposed by the Society of the Army of Tennessee who wanted to honor the general who led the Union Army to victory. It was created by sculptor Henry Mervin Shardy who spent 20 years of his life working on it. When Shardy and architect Edward Pearce Casey won the commission to design the memorial in 1902, they had no idea the scope of what they were getting involved in. The budget for the memorial was $250,000.

The artist researched the project with ambition. He joined the National Guard and spent four years learning military practice. He found and researched Union equipment and gear and he read countless books and  studied paintings about the Civil War to familiarize himself with Grant and his military tactics. He was criticized several times for the slow pace of his work. The amazing amount of detail however proves that it was time well spent. He used his own likeness in one of the soldiers in the charge, forever memorializing his own likeness.

He worked at a frantic pace at the end of the project suffering through many sleepless nights, and illness. Sadly, the artist died two weeks before the sculpture was publicly unveiled on April 27, 1922 one hundred years after Grant's birth.

It was freezing cold the day I did this sketch and I ended up sitting in a puddle of ice cold water on the granite bench I sat on, literally freezing my butt. It was a minor inconvenience compared to Shardy’s long suffering commitment to this work of art.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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